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Pokémon ban gaining ground

The DepEd central office has yet to respond to inquiries on the possibility of issuing a blanket ban on the the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go in all public elementary and high schools. EDD GUMBAN   

MANILA, Philippines - Policy initiatives to ban the playing of the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go in school premises across the country are gaining ground.

In Cebu, the provincial board has approved a resolution asking the Department of Education (DepEd) to prohibit the catching of pocket monsters in schools.

A similar proposal was filed by Quezon City Councilor Allan Butch Francisco, who wants the game developer to remove lure spots in government offices, schools and churches.

Francisco said government offices should be made off limits to Pokémon Go hunters, as it could affect employees’ productivity.

He said the game could also put schoolchildren at risk and disturb business transactions in government offices, classes in schools and religious worship.

He clarified that he does not intend to ban the game in Quezon City.

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In response to Cebu’s resolution, the DepEd Central Visayas office said it would look into the request to ban the game in schools.

“There is still no official mandate yet to ban the game. Our regional director and school division chiefs have yet to meet and decide on the ban,” DepEd-Region 7 public relations officer Amaryllis Villarmia said in an interview with Freeman News Service.

The DepEd central office has yet to respond to inquiries on the possibility of issuing a blanket ban on the game in all public elementary and high schools.

Under DepEd guidelines, the use of mobile phones is prohibited during class hours.

Former education secretary Armin Luistro had said that while mobile devices are allowed in schools, their use should be strictly regulated.

Developed by Niantic, Pokémon Go enables players to use their mobile devices to hunt, capture, train and engage in battle virtual creatures in an augmented reality setup.

Special spots known as PokéStops and PokéGyms – where players can find items or have battles – are scattered throughout the map, usually in areas with significant markers or important landmarks, including schools and churches.

Following the release of the game, Xavier School in San Juan reminded the faculty and students that a “no gaming” policy is in effect in school premises.

Following uproar over the controversial PokéStops such as the Holocaust Memorial in Washington and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, Niantic developed a system that would allow users to seek the removal of lure spots.

Free wi-fi, but no online games

Employees of the city government of Davao may be enjoying free Wi-Fi access, but they are strictly prohibited from playing Pokémon Go, DOTA and other games on their smartphones or computers.

City administrator Zuleika Lopez said employees are only allowed to access websites that will not distract them or affect their productivity. – With Robertzon Ramirez, Edith Regalado

 

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